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slippery when wet

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 26
Dec
2003

Paperback coming real soon now

Jennifer Government Jennifer Government arrives in paperback in the US and Canada on January 6th, just in time to be purchased with that gift voucher you got for Christmas. Or, if someone gave you some OTHER book, you know, by some OTHER author, you can return that and exchange it for mine. Those other authors are probably rich and successful already, anyway. I bet they hire college students to convert a half-page of wine-stained notes into a finished novel, then slap their name on it. I, meanwhile, have to convert my own wine-stained notes.

To celebrate this, or, more accurately, to attempt to kick sales of it along, in early February I’m coming to the US and doing a 10-city book tour. This is terrific, and not just because my publisher is going to pay for my room service. It means I get to meet people who read my book, which is lots of fun; also oddly reassuring. Check out my tour dates!

Tue 09
Dec
2003

Note this

Jennifer Government The New York Times has released its list of Notable Books for 2003, and Jennifer Government is on it! Admittedly, it’s a long list. But… the New York Times! I’m stoked.

Mon 10
Nov
2003

Section 8 ponies up again

Jennifer Government Good news for my Jennifer Government stock holdings on the Hollywood Stock Exchange: Section 8 and Warner Bros. just renewed their option on the film rights! This means they’ve got another 18 months to turn it into the world’s first movie with negative product placement. (Where companies pay to have their products not mentioned. I still say it can be done.)

This also means I get paid for doing nothing at all, a new experience for me, but one I could definitely get used to. I would work towards having this happen more often, but I think that defeats the point.

Sun 09
Nov
2003

Syrup 101

Syrup Today I achieved one of my life-long goals: I was used as a case study in a marketing textbook! This is cool because in Syrup, Scat lives in fear of becoming a “How Not To” case study. Now I am one! Only in a good way.

Just in case this is of interest to anyone other than myself, the textbook is Strategic Internet Marketing 2.0 by Susan & Stephen Dann, and it talks about how the NationStates game I wrote helped promote Jennifer Government.

Tue 09
Sep
2003

Virtual greed is good

Jennifer Government The British and German publishers have both just gone into a second printing, so sales must be good. Either that or they thought it would bomb and only printed a handful of copies to start with. It’s hard to know for sure. No, wait! A reprint is always a good thing.

According to Amazon.com, who always find out this kind of thing before me, there are release dates for the American & Canadian paperback (January 6th 2004, US$12.95) and the British smaller paperback (February 5th 2004, 6.99). There’s also a chance I’ll be doing touring the US in January, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, I’ve realized I can manipulate the stock market. The Hollywood Stock Exchange, anyway, which is just as fun and minus the risk of getting hauled off to jail. If I say something on this web site about the movie’s development, the Jennifer Government stock goes up; if I don’t mention it for a while, it sinks. This makes me want to announce that Nicole Kidman has committed to play the lead. (But she hasn’t. They’re still working on the screenplay.)

Mon 25
Aug
2003

Behind the scenes with Jen

Jennifer Government I’ve finally posted Jennifer Government Trivia and Deleted Scenes, both of which are accessible via the Extras page. Are there any other authors who post deleted scenes of their novels? I don’t think so. They probably understand that it’s not a great promotion for your work to take some of the worst bits and put them online. Come to think of it, I’m not sure why I’m doing it. I’m sure I had a reason originally. Hmm.

If you’re in the UK and keen to get your hands on an autographed copy, you can now do so via the Orbit Books website. At least, that’s what Orbit tells me. The page doesn’t actually say they’re autographed copies, so you have to take it on faith that Orbit isn’t a bunch of filthy liars. But I’m prepared to do that if you are. The books are large paperbacks with a signed book plate (i.e. sticker with my scribble on it) stuck in the front.

In film news, Section Eight has switched screenwriters from Scott Burns to E. Max Frye. I don’t know the details, so let’s just assume there was some kind of almighty screaming Hollywood brawl involved. It’s juicier news that way.

Thu 03
Jul
2003

British Jennifer

Jennifer Government At last! Jennifer Government hits bookstores across the UK today, in “ridiculously large paperback” format. It’s been a while coming, mainly for legal reasons associated with using real company names in a work of not-so-flattering fiction. Abacus, the British publisher, got several different lawyers to carefully study the book and devise a strategy for minimizing any potential legal exposure; they came up with: “Wait six months and see if anyone sues the American publisher.” (Nobody has.)

Since Syrup hasn’t been published in the UK yet, Jennifer Government is my debut novel there. It’s nice to be a first-time novelist again. I feel all clean and innocent.

Tue 01
Jul
2003

German Jennifer

Jennifer Government Sneaking in just ahead of the UK, the German edition of Jennifer Government comes out today. It’s called Logoland, because “Jennifer Regierung” doesn’t sound nearly so cool. Or so I’m told. Frankly, I’ve never understood this translation business. How do my characters know how to speak German? I don’t know.

The German publisher has gone with a different cover: to the best of my knowledge, they’re the only ones in the world do that. Genius? Insanity? You decide.

Mon 28
Apr
2003

Ph34r my paperback

Jennifer Government Jennifer Government hits bookstore shelves across in Australia and New Zealand today, as what may be the world’s largest paperback. This thing is enormous. It’s like one of those giant Fosters cans they put out in other countries to trade off the stereotype of Australians as hard-drinking beer guzzlers, even though in Australia Fosters cans are just the normal size. Ah, marketing. But I digress.

Later today I’m going to check out bookstores and quietly move all their Jennifer Government copies to more prominent locations. (Oh come on, other authors do it.) I just need to limber up first. They are really big paperbacks.

Syrup returns

Syrup “It’s baaaaack.” Hmm, it really is hard to get the inflection right on that. But the point: Syrup is back in the US & Canada! It went briefly out of print in what was a terrible, dark time for, I think I can say, all of humanity. But especially me.

What this means: whether a bookstore has copies on its shelves or not, it can order some. So feel free, if your bookstore doesn’t have a Syrup, to demand they get some. Pound the counter, too. That makes you more persuasive.

Fri 28
Mar
2003

Back in black & white

Syrup Great news: Viking is going back to the presses! Yes, copies of Syrup, which have been increasingly hard to find in the US & Canada lately, will soon be nestled on bookstore shelves again.

To all those people who wrote in for the SaveOurSyrups e-mail campaign: thank you so much! Your support really helped.

I don’t yet know when the new Syrups will be available. If you’d like to be notified when the book comes out, e-mail SaveOurSyrups@maxbarry.com.

Thu 13
Mar
2003

Wallpaper your world

Jennifer Government I was browsing around for some new desktop wallpaper the other day, then I remembered I had a novel with a really cool cover. If you want your desktop to look this fancy, grab it now from the Extras section.

This is extra cool for Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis, because the book isn’t out there yet and nobody will know what the hell it’s about, thus bestowing upon you a mysterious air of innate coolness. Of course, you won’t have read the book, so you just have to take it on faith that it’s any good. Mysterious airs of innate coolness never come risk-free.

Tue 11
Mar
2003

I can’t get no love

Syrup The film option period has expired, and I don’t see any Syrup movie posters around featuring Matt Damon, so I must have the rights back. This means I get to sell them all over again, which isn’t a bad deal, really. Apparently some writers make a pretty good living just re-selling film options to their books, with no film ever being made. Not bad work if you can get it. But… I’d love to see the film get up.

There’s some interest from a few different production companies, so we’ll see how we go.

Mon 03
Feb
2003

Get thee to a bookstore

Jennifer Government It’s out! And oh, it’s good to see the thing in an actual bookstore. It’s such a long process to get a novel from idea to bookshelf—I began writing it in November 1999, if you can believe that—so it’s very satisfying to be done. It’s also great to see Jennifer Government and Syrup side-by-side. It makes me look like a real writer. A real writer who can’t decide what his name is, sure, but still.

Early signs suggest the book is selling well, although it’s hard to be sure. Book stores generally don’t report this information to publishers, so I can only get an indication from store re-orders, my Amazon.com sales ranking, and bestseller lists (which lag by a couple of weeks anyway). But so far, so good!

Fri 03
Jan
2003

On the road

Jennifer Government Tour dates! This is where I travel around the country, perform to packed houses, and dangle babies off balconies. No, wait, that’s Michael Jackson. I just read from my book, sign copies, and answer questions. But still! You should come along. It’ll be fun.

I’m doing two appearances this month: one in New York and one in LA. If you can’t make it but want to get your hands on a signed copy, contact either bookstore and have them reserve one for you.

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